Originating in Mexico and Central America, mamey or mamey sapote (Pouteria sapota) is a tree fruit grown in parts of Florida and other tropical locales. Trees have thick trunks, large leaves that can be 12 inches long, and typically reach an average height of 40 feet in Florida, but may reach up to 60 feet in more tropical locations. Trees produce white flowers that cluster towards the ends of branches. Seedling trees begin to bear fruit after 7 years or longer while grafted trees begin in 3 to 5 years.
Most mamey varieties are 3 to 8 inches in length and considered a berry, with a circular or egg shape. The fruit has thick brownish skin with a rough surface, and pink/orange, reddish pulp when mature. The pulp is soft, with a smooth to finely granular texture. The fruit generally contains a single large seed, but may have up to four with a shiny, hard, dark brown exterior.
References: Florida Department of Agriculture, Purdue University, University of California, Davis, University of Florida .
TYPES, VARIETIES & CUTS
There are multiple varieties of mamey sapote with large variations in shape, size, and pulp quality, as well as color of the fruit. “Pantin” and “Magana” cultivars account for the most significant acreage in Florida; other varieties that can produce at different times of the year include “Tazumal” and “Pace.”
References: Purdue University, University of Florida.
PESTS & DISEASE
Two principle diseases affect mamey sapote production in Florida: anthracnose and algal spot. Anthracnose is a fungus that attacks flowers, leaves, and fruit. Infected flowers develop lesions, eventually leading to blackening and death. Leaves develop lesions which enlarge, and may cause leaf drop. Algal spot appears as greenish-gray, raised round areas on leaves. Numerous infections can cause leaf drop; algal is also capable of causing scaling and cracking of limbs.
Few insects cause significant damage to mamey sapote. Larvae of the Cuban May beetle and moths that attack blooms are among the more serious pests. The female May beetle deposits eggs in the soil and the larvae feed on plant roots. Little is known regarding the bloom moth, that while in larval form, occasionally causes damage to blooms.
References: Purdue University, UC Davis Postharvest Technology website, University of Florida.